Thoughts on working with Roland, by Rafaela Alzamora.
In the world we live in, we love labels. We find security in defining ourselves, in the boundaries we stablish for ourselves. But, do we choose those limits consciously? By heart? Do we stop to think if they do us better? We’ve learned to separate “handicapped” people in a group, and with that, to assume that they don’t count with all the capacities any “normal” person does. But, if we try to forget what we’ve learned about physical features, conditions and diseases we commonly see as such, ¿what defines for each of us what a disability is? For me, disability appears when the defect in discussion paralyzes you, makes you feel like less, or it emasculates your potential. It is our duty as humans to destroy what we`ve learned to build up horizontal, loving relationships between us. For example, Roland: he is “handicapped” by hegemonic definition, but he is one of the most elevated and happy people I’ve had the pleasure to meet. He has better mental health and hygiene than most of us “normal” people: for example, me. One of my personal defects, physical at least, is my dramatic sweat. Not so long ago I’ve learned to share it with people without so much weight to it, assuming it and even laughing or joking about it, even though it still represents one of my biggest insecurities. It’s gross, we can say it out loud, I find it gross as well when my hands and feet sweat, I want to hide, because you can see it, and if you touch me while I’m sweating I will feel bad for you, I feel exposed and it is something that doesn’t allow me to feel 100% normal: show or receive love the way I would want to, feel comfortable in my skin and with contact. It’s a shame the distance it creates between me and everyone else, I live it as a disability. What happens to me doesn’t even come close to what Roland has to live with, but my point is, that everyone has issues, walls, defects or unsolved business that puts up distance with everyone else, and what makes working with Roland so wonderful is that he transcends his condition, he doesn’t grieve about it, he is always happy, grateful, calm, in love with what he does and hungry for more life, and he does it effortlessly, it comes out naturally from his heart, he gives his all to what life asks of him and sees the world with eyes of kindness, without any judgement, with plenty of opportunities and human experiences to live. Working with him, reading him, playing with him, watching his performances, to go near his energy is a gift. I wonder, with what personal features of ourselves that makes less of us are we attached and cannot see through? And, why? What do we want to hide from everyone else? There is no good without any bad in it, and there is no bad without any good in it, seeing that, accepting that, play with that and inhabit every corner of that spectrum leaving our “disabilities” aside for a moment does good to us.
In our project “Usar uno al otro”, we wonder, why do we choose to carry what we carry? We’re interested in stop caring for our burdens to care for someone else for a little while: carry their weight, their physical information, their subtleties, try out how it feels to inhabit their features, show them to them, in treating our physical features, our lights and our shadows, as if they were pieces of a museum: as valuable as they are, as overdimensioned as they are by their context.
Dates: 05. – 07.03.2020, Teatro Mandril, Humberto 1º 2758, C1231ACD CABA, Buenos Aries, Argentinia